Horace “The Ninja” Enrique has written its own pages in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) in Argentina. He made history with his fights against Jorge “Steel“Cali at the beginning of the last decade, with whom he starred in a trilogy with a massive audience and peaks of almost 20 rating points. Now he is making history again but on the other side of the counter: he is the promoter of the Argentine MMA Circuit (CAM)the first event of this sport to be broadcast live on open television.
The CAM will have its 11th event next Saturday the 25th, where the final of the super 8 light heavyweight (93 kilos) will take place between Lucas Alsina Y Juan Carlos Lepezwhich brings into play a belt.
One of the novelties of this promoter is that it has an agreement with Lux Fight League, the Mexican company that is a great showcase for the UFC. All CAM champions have the opportunity to go fight in that company.
The evening will be at the UBA sports field in Ciudad Universitaria, broadcast by “Knockout 9with stories of Augustus Niez and comments by Javier Ganín and Mariano Oliveros.
The CAM will have a belt up for grabs on June 25. Instagram photo.
In dialogue with Clarion, the Ninja assured that in addition to organizing an event, the CAM is much more than that. “I want to emphasize that we are doing social worknot only in the amateur part, but professionally, to educate them from boys to fighters,” he explained.
In addition, he said that he tries to take care of the fighter’s right “that they be well cared for, and let them know that an event without them is nothing“. “We are working for that. If the rest comes, welcome. But than Argentina start stepping on the top positions in the world in MMA, that’s my goal. I want the sport to continue well, but we run to put together the events, we close with little time left, we do not have a fixed place and we are fighting to take the sport forward,” he said about the difficulties in putting together an evening.
The idea of the CAM arose from all the experience and contacts that the Ninja made during his career years. “This started with a group of friendly people, who know what I am doing for the sport. The first thing I managed to do was put together the first Argentine Association of Mixed Martial Arts and Contact Sports, where I am endorsed by CeNARD. There I take care of everything amateur. I am lucky to have found this sport“, he highlighted.
He also insisted on social work to support the fighters. “We try to make the boys have another vision, let them know that you can get out of the streetplay sports, have a good diet, have good nutrition, that there are things that can make you happy and, apart from that, give you a future for another job opportunity,” he summarized.
“In this country we are broadcasting, now with the television that we have on Channel 9 live, we are trying to reach more homes, so that they know that MMA is a sport like any other and that it can become an Olympic sport. There are very good athletes and exponents here, but if we don’t have flight hours, when you go to compete outside, unfortunately they pass you by. It’s one thing to drive every day and another thing to go out on Saturdays and Sundays, “he said about the competition with other countries.
Steel Cali (i) vs. The Ninja, in his first fight. Photo capture video.
He stressed that in the CAM “everything is done in the country, everything in Argentine territory.” “The last event was the first in which people from Brazil and Uruguay came, but later it was all Argentine. And not only with the Capital, but with people from the provinces, who many left them isolated and did not take them into account. We we try to help everyone,” Enrique said.
The event matchmakers are Gaston Granados Y Maximilian Marón (director of the ISKA -International Sport Kickboxing Association- of Argentina), whose work he highlighted. “The fights they are putting together are very even, there is not one rival more exceeded than another… I have nothing but words of gratitude for the management they are having to make this transparent,” he defined.
– Does an event like the CAM leave money?
– Look, I’m telling you from the bottom of my heart… For me, if you plan to do this as a business… I think that in the long run it has to happen, but in the meantime it’s going to take a couple of years. Because you have to spread the sport. This saved my life, it made me happy again. I work for something else and many of the guys who are with me do too. What I want is for the fighters who leave here to be well prepared and when they go to another country they won’t be anyone’s cannon fodder. I want the Argentine fighter to go and fight as equals, for him to be respected. I have that intention and we have the resistance not to give up, because we do it with love. It’s more, we put out of our pocket. I am in a process of my life in which I believe that the more I give, the more I will receive. And I’m not saying it for money, but to receive work, help, healthy, beautiful things, things that give you energy to start the day.
– Everyone remembers you for the appearance against Acero… But how did you approach MMA?
– I started as a child and used them for my work (he is a custodian). Besides, he was a teacher of daily martial law which was like training for the job he did. What happens is that what I had was not to enter a tournament. So, I had to adapt to the different ways of fighting that the rules called for.
– When did you start watching MMA who did you like?
– I had some friends who were already training… The ones I liked were Anderson Silva, Victor Belfortall that litter. BJ Penn, etc. All of that attracted me.
Ninja Enrique with Laureano Staropoli, former Argentine UFC fighter. Instagram @elninjahoracio
– How do you see other MMA events in Argentina?
– I’m witty in what I do, I’m not going to get an idea from anywhere, I don’t waste time talking to other fighters or ruining the event for anyone. On the contrary. The doors of the CAM are open to everyone. My return to the people who trusted and put me in this is to show them respect and transparency. Fighters can go to any event to fight. Unless they are summoned by the CAM, which has to be eight weeks in advance, because you never know what can happen. If they get hurt, you’re left with an empty billboard and you look bad in the sport. So I also ask you to be in weight, schedule, will, sacrifice and respect. Afterwards, I don’t pay attention to anyone and I don’t have time to take care of anyone because I already have enough of mine.
-Do you see any possible CAM fighter with a future in the UFC?
-The truth is that I don’t want to give names, because I don’t want to look bad with anyone. If not, they will think that I have privilege with someone and I don’t have it with anyone. Everyone who fights in the CAM is equally loved, and I’m going to help everyone equally in any way I can.
From rivalry to eternal gratitude to Acero Cali
The first confrontation between Steel and the Ninja was in 2010, in the mythical Luna Park. The fight ended in a draw by decision of the jury. That ruling led to a controversy in which bottles began to fly from one side to the other and the bases were laid for the rematch.
It took place in 2012 at the Islas Malvinas sports center in Mar del Plata, where Acero prevailed after the abandonment of his opponent in the third round. The revenge was achieved by El Ninja in 2013, when he closed the trilogy with a knockout in the second round, in a packed Luna Park.
Although from those years to today he landed at the UFC in our country and the sport does not stop growing, now he does not have the repercussion generated by his clashes, which were seen even by Diego Maradona.
The Ninja analyzes that it was “a novelty” and something “well put together”. “There were people who wanted to do things, who I don’t think they did it with bad intentions, but they didn’t go well. There were people who, unfortunately, didn’t end well, who kept someone else’s money and that harms the sport”, assured.
“That’s why we’re doing the work, we want to show credibility to the fighter, that we are taking care of them. It is necessary to trace it back”, he opined.
Regarding the death of Acero Cali in October of last year, he confessed that “he hit him very badly.” “Jorge opened my eyes with this sport, he led me to believe in what I am doing and what he could do,” he defined.
“I also always say that he spoke to me and I didn’t understand him, and now that I’m on this side I understand a lot of things. People think that you do an event and it’s blowing and making bottles. To do an event I have a lot of friends who help me and I am very grateful. They see the love I put into it…“, he concluded.